Blankenship Law Firm

Banner Bank Class Action

Mortgage Loan Officers

About

The Blankenship Law Firm, PLLC and Plaintiffs Kelly Bolding and Michael Manfredi filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington against Banner Bank on April 17, 2017. The Plaintiffs claim that Banner Bank and AmericanWest Bank did not and do not pay Mortgage Loan Officers for all of the hours they work, in violation of state and federal wage and hour laws. Plaintiffs specifically claim that Mortgage Loan Officers are required to work over 40 hours a week to do their job, but that Banner Bank discourages and prevents its Mortgage Loan Officers from reporting the hours they work over 40. Plaintiffs seek to recover the wages that Banner Bank unlawfully withheld from its Mortgage Loan Officers, plus applicable fees and penalties under state and federal laws.

Do You Qualify?

You are a member of the class action if

  1. You worked for Banner Bank or AmericanWest Bank in California as a Mortgage Loan Officer, Real Estate Commissioned Loan Officer, and/or Residential Lender, at any time between April 17, 2013 and present.
  2. You worked for Banner Bank or AmericanWest Bank in Washington State as a Mortgage Loan Officer, Real Estate Commissioned Loan Officer, and/or Residential Lender, at any time between April 17, 2014 and present.
  3. You worked for Banner Bank or AmericanWest Bank in Oregon as a Mortgage Loan Officer, Real Estate Commissioned Loan Officer, and/or Residential Lender, at any time between April 17, 2011 and present.

If you are a member of the class action, you should have been notified by mail and e-mail. 

If you signed and returned a form “opting in” to the collective action, then you are also a member of a Fair Labor Standards Act “collective action” against Banner Bank.

Case Updates

On September 13, 2021, U.S. District Court Judge Robert S. Lasnik issued an order denying Banner Bank’s motion to dismiss the class action on summary judgment. In the order the Court stated that after reviewing the evidence:  “A reasonable jury could conclude that Banner discouraged the reporting of compensable hours and that its policies resulted in widespread under-reporting of both straight and overtime hours.” The Court further stated that “[i]f that were the case, a reasonable inference arises that [Banner Bank] was aware that unreported work was occurring, but simply chose to turn a blind eye.”

The Court’s order is a major victory for the class and allows the case to proceed to trial on September 12, 2022. You can read the Court’s full order here.

On July 19, 2021, U.S. District Court Judge Robert S. Lasnik issued an order granting Class Plaintiffs’ motion to bifurcate the class action into two phases: (1) a trial on liability partial individual damages and (2) a trial on class-wide damages. This is another win for the class. You can read the Court’s full order here.

On March 29, 2021, U.S. District Court Judge Robert S. Lasnik denied Banner Bank’s attempt to disqualify Class Representative Kelly Bolding and The Blankenship Law Firm, PLLC from representing the Class. Amongst other things, the Court found that, “Plaintiffs and their counsel have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding defendant’s practices and have obtained significant rulings in their favor.” You can read the Court’s full order here.

On May 22, 2020, U.S. District Court Judge Robert S. Lasnik issued an order granting Class Plaintiffs’ motion for sanction against Defendant Banner Bank. Sanctions were awarded against Banner Bank because the Court found it “took affirmative and intentional steps to destroy relevant evidence that it knew or should have know had not been preserved, and that the evidence is not irretrievably lost.” As a result, the Court has ordered that Defendant Banner Bank “will be precluded from contesting a class member’s estimate of overtime hours worked as to any month in which plaintiffs have been deprived of the employee’s emails, calendar account, or both.” These Court sanctions against Banner Bank are another victory for the class. You can read the Court’s full order here.

On October 10, 2018, U.S District Court Judge Robert S. Lasnik issued an order certifying a class action against Banner Bank, and allowing the state law wage claims of over 200 Mortgage Loan Officers to continue toward a jury trial.

Judge Lasnik stated that there is a common question of whether “Banner Bank has systems, policies, and practices in place that effectively discourage or prevent [Mortgage Loan Officers] from reporting all the hours they worked.” He also stated that Banner Bank’s own records “support plaintiffs’ contentions that Banner Bank expected [Mortgage Loan Officers]  to work during normal business hours and to be responsive to clients and potential referrals at all hours, that Banner Bank knew or should have known that MLOs were working outside normal business hours, and that those hours were generally not captured in the payroll records.”

The order is a major victory. It is a crucial step to recovering compensation for class members. Read the order here.

On December 17, 2017, Judge Lasnik also “conditionally certified” a collective action against Banner Bank under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 203. The collective action required members to “opt in” and agree to join the collective action. Thirty-four people joined the collective action. The time period for joining the collective action has now closed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What do I need to do to participate in the class action?
A: Nothing! If you are a member of the class action, you will receive notice by mail and e-mail. If you have questions about whether or not you are a class member, please contact us at 206-343-2700 or blf@blankenshiplawfirm.com.

Q: If I am a class member, will I recover compensation?
A: We cannot guarantee the outcome of litigation. However, we feel strongly that most, if not all, class members are owed a significant amount for unpaid work they did at AmericanWest Bank and Banner Bank. We will make every effort to ensure all class members are fully and fairly compensated.

Q: Is there anything I should do as a class member?
A: Yes! Please contact our law firm at 206-343-2700 or at blf@blankenshiplawfirm.com. Information from class members is crucial to building our case and recovering full and fair compensation.

Q: Who represents me in this lawsuit?
A: All class members are represented by the attorneys at The Blankenship Law Firm, PLLC, including lead attorney Scott Blankenship.

The Oregon, Washington, and California classes are also represented by a single “named plaintiff.” The named plaintiffs are: Sarah Ward (Oregon), Kelly Bolding (Washington), and Michael Manfredi (California).

Q: Can Banner Bank contact me?
A: No. If you are a class member, Banner Bank cannot contact you directly.  If you are a class member and you have ever been contacted by anyone from Banner Bank about a lawsuit, please immediately contact us.

Q: Do I have to pay anything to participate?
A: There is no cost or fee whatsoever for participating in the class action or collective action. If The Blankenship Law Firm obtains a settlement or a favorable trial verdict, the court will decide the fees and costs to be awarded to the class’ legal team. No class member will ever be asked to pay any out-of-pocket sum.

Q: Can my employer take any negative action against me as a result of my participation in this class action lawsuit?
A: No! It is illegal for your employer to take any negative action against you for your participation in a class action. You can participate in this lawsuit without fear of losing your job, receiving a demotion, or suffering from any other adverse action from your employer. If you feel that you are being pressured not to participate in this lawsuit for fear of retaliation or other negative treatment, please contact us immediately. We will work with you to ensure your rights are fully protected.

Court Documents

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